Petecio begins long trek toward Olympic gold
Nesthy Petecio has been gearing up for her first international tournament of the year in the Strandja Memorial Cup in Sofia, Bulgaria, that will kick off a long path to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The readiness of the Olympic silver medalist in women’s boxing will be put to the test during the Feb. 18 to Feb. 27 meet after Petecio chiseled herself back into fighting form in a two-month camp in Baguio City.
“We are looking at six to seven tournaments this year as we work it out to qualify in Paris,’’ said Petecio, whose chief aim is to claim the Olympic gold medal in women’s featherweight.
Petecio will also participate in the International Boxing Association World Women’s Boxing Championships in New Delhi, India on Mar. 15 to Mar. 31 along with fellow Tokyo Olympic Irish Magno.
They are scheduled to hold a camp in India with the national team prior to the competition proper.
Then there’s the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on May 5 to May 17 where the 30-year-old Petecio attempts to improve on a bronze-medal performance in the women’s lightweight division in the Vietnam edition of the Games last year.
“I’m in good shape, my weight is within range and I’m working on my reflexes, including my power and speed,’’ said Petecio.
But the tournament that the 2019 world champion should really look forward to is the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 since the continental sportsfest serves as an Olympic qualifier for the region.
After the Asian qualification, a pair of world qualification tournaments are being planned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) next year prior to the Paris Games.
“I really want to compete again in the Olympics. Hopefully, I get another chance because I won’t stop until I win that gold,’’ said Petecio.
This new Olympic qualification process is an alternative arrangement that has been put in place by the IOC in close collaboration with boxing experts after the world Olympic body removed the selection of boxers from the international boxing federation (Aiba).
The IOC’s concerns surrounding Aiba’s governance, along with the judging process during fights and refereeing are still ongoing. As a result, the IOC Executive Board excluded boxing from the program of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
“It will be sad, especially for younger women who are aspiring to achieve what we have accomplished in women’s boxing,’’ said Petecio.
After the SEA Games in Cambodia, Petecio will compete again in the Asian Boxing Confderation Asian Clubs Elite Men’s and Women’s Boxing Championships in July.
They will train in China in August prior to the Asian Games, see action in the World Combat Games on Oct. 21 to Oct. 30 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and set up another camp either in Sheffield, United Kingdom, or Colorado Springs, United States, in preparation for next year’s Olympic qualifying tournaments. INQ